Friday, 19 February 2010

Part Three - The Halle Campaign

Strategic map at start of Halle campaign

The Halle campaign is the third phase of the larger 1813 Campaign. It covers the period 17 May to 13 June 1813 and the fighting in central Germany between First French Army and the Russians.

It has been done as a separate blog in order to keep all of the relevant reports together and to avoid making the main campaign blog too long and complicated.

We started the campaign on 24 August 2009 and finished on 14 October 2009

The full campaign report can be read at:

Background to the Campaign
The allied success in northern Germany has left Blucher in a very exposed position. Although he has captured Magdeburg, his left flank is open to an attack by Napoleon’s First French Army. He demands that Kutuzov bring the Russian Army forward from Dresden to Halle to protect his flank.

Kutuzov is less than eager to march forward against Napoleon in person. He has learned during the previous year just how dangerous that could be. However his Army has been allowed to rest for two weeks, while Blucher has borne the brunt of the fighting. His corps have been reinforced and there is no excuse not to move forward to support Blucher.

Summary of the Campaign
For two weeks Napoleon has been expecting a Russian advance in support of Blucher.
He has been unable to join the army due to political and administrative problems in Paris. On 10 May he diverts reinforcements from the Imperial Guard to 3rd Corps which is short of a full division of infantry. By 16 May 3rd corps is ready to take the field, and is in reserve at Erfurt. The Imperial Guard will remain at Fulda to await reinforcements.

On 17 May the Russian army start their march from Dresden to the river Saale, and Napoleon departs from Paris to join the Imperial Garde at Fulda. The Halle campaign has started.

On 22 May Kutuzov enters Leipzig and his army take up position to cover the river Saale bridges from Halle to Neustadt. The western bank is only lightly held by the French as they await the arrival of Napoleon with reinforcements.

The first battle of the campaign is at Neustadt on 23 May when the French and Russians both race to take Neustadt. Russians reach it first, but are attacked before they can take possession. In a lengthy fight for the town the French fail to evict the Russians and have to retreat during the night

The following day filled with confidence after their victory at Neustadt, Kutuzov orders an attack on Gera, to deny the French their only bridgehead on west bank of the river Saale. It is a success and the following day the Russians cross to the west bank.

On 25 May Napoleon arrives at the Saale and immediately commits the Imperial Garde to retake Weimar and force the Russians back across the river Saale. In a close fought battle the 4th Russian corps held Weimar right to the end. The garde cavalry were beaten by the Russian cuirassiers, and three of the four garde infantry brigades were shaken. As night fell the sole garde infantry brigade finally pushed the Russians out of Weimar. A relieved Napoleon had halted the Russian advance and regained control of the west bank of the river Saale.

On 28 May Napoleon orders the Westphalians to cross river Saale and attack Lutzen, but there are unable to defeat Russians. After a fierce battle the Westphalians retire to Halle.

Unwilling to admit defeat Napoleon shifts his army south to outflank the Russian line along the east bank of the river Saale. They cross the river and occupy Neustadt, which causes Kutuzov to abandon the Leipzig road and move south to secure the road to Dresden. The result is a battle at Rohenburg on 1 June. Once more the French are beaten and forced to retire to the west bank.

Kutuzov is convinced that the French will now retreat west, and orders his entire army to cross the Saale on the Leipzig road. The French garrison of Halle retreat and the Russians garrison the town. However Napoleon has been reorganizing his army for one final throw of the dice, and on 7 June he attacks Halle.

The final battle of the campaign is a complete victory for the French. The Russian army fall back east and rally around Leipzig. However Napoleon’s army has taken a severe pounding during the campaign, and is in no condition to resume hostilities. He contents himself with holding the river Saale bridges, and both armies settle down to await resupply and reinforcements.

The campaign has been a limited success for the French. They have held the Russians on the line of the river Saale. They have also extended the line of the Second Army to the north on the river Elbe. But in doing so they have suffered heavy casualties and are in need of a considerable rest before Napoleon can hope to continue the struggle.

The Russian army is also in line with the Prussians to the north. The great advance has been brought to a complete standstill. But they have both achieved a number of victories against the French, and require only a good rest, reorganization and resupply to be ready to resist any further French advance.

Part One - The Magdeburg Campaign

Strategic map at start of Magdeburg campaign


The Magdeburg campaign is the first phase of the larger 1813 Campaign. It covers the period 1 May 1813 to 16 May1813 and the fighting in northern Germany between Second French Army and the Prussians.

It has been done as a separate blog in order to keep all of the relevant reports together and to avoid making the main campaign blog too long and complicated.

We started the campaign on 8 April 2009 and finished on 5 July 2009

The full campaign report can be read at:

Background to the Campaign

Prussia declared war on France and Prince Blucher is ordered to march on the river Elbe and capture Magdeburg. He immediately orders his four corps to march west, sending his cavalry ahead to recce crossing of the river north and south of Magdeburg.

180 miles to the west, at his headquarters in Hannover, Marshal Davout is well aware of the threat posed by the Prussian army. Only two of his four corps are immediately available for action, and are positioned on the river Elbe. The 4th corps is at Hamburg and the 5th corps at Magdeburg. Between them they had 80 miles of river to defend. The 13th corps was regrouping at Brunswick. They had suffered badly in Russia the previous year, but were not ready to take the field again. The newly formed 6th corps was under his personal command at Hannover, and was also ready to take the field.

As soon as he received notification of the Prussian declaration of war Davout ordered 6th and 13th corps to march to Magdeburg. 4th corps was ordered to move south along the west bank of the river Elbe, but to keep watch for any Prussian move on Hamburg.

Summary of the Campaign

The Prussian army crossed the river Elbe and won the battle of Calbe on 5 May. Two days later they won again at Colbitz. They were now firmly established on the west bank. On 10 May the French were again defeated at Halbeck.

The Prussians now turned their attention to Magdeburg. As they approached the city the French withdrew, and moved north. The Prussians were thrown into confusion at this unexpected move, and were completely unprepared for the French major attack at Magdeburg. The result was a French victory. The Prussians held Magdeburg, but had to retire across the river Elbe.

The campaign ended with a limited Prussian victory. They had taken, and held, Magdeburg. But they had failed to secure the line of the river Elbe, and the French were now concentrated and in position to oppose any crossing of the river.

Campaign Armies

The purpose of this campaign is to allow me to use all of the model soldiers in my collection over a period of time.

I have identical armies in three scales 6mm, 15mm and 28mm.

Composition of Armies
There are five allied armies namely Austrian, British, Prussian, Russian and Spanish.

There are also five French armies consisting of French, Bavarian, Baden, Polish and Westphalian

During this campaign all armies will have identical quantities of infantry, cavalry and artillery and similar orders of battle.

Composition of Corps
Each army will have four corps, and each corps will have one cavalry brigade, four infantry brigades and one artillery.

The fighting ability of each brigade will be adjusted by different classes of troops. Infantry will be further adjusted by skirmish and firing ability.

Orders of Battle
Complete orders of battle for each army and corps, and photographs of each army and each corps in each scale, can be found on the following blog:

Part Two - The Tarragona Campaign

Strategic Map at the start of the Tarragona Campaign


The Tarragona is the third phase of the larger 1813 Campaign. It covers the period 14 May to 7 June 1813 and the fighting in eastern Spain between Fourth French Army and the Spanish.

It has been done as a separate blog in order to keep all of the relevant reports together and to avoid making the main campaign blog too long and complicated.

We started the campaign on 7 July 2009 and finished on 19 August 2009.

The full campaign report can be read at:

Background to campaign
Wellington is commander in chief of the British, Portuguese and Spanish armies. He has concentrated the British and Portuguese army at Salamanca, ready for the main effort against Burgos to clear the French from all of Spain.

He is anxious that the Marshal Suchet in eastern Spain should not send support to Marshal Soult at Burgos, and to this end has tasked the Spanish armies in eastern Spain to create a diversion to occupy Suchet.

The French occupy the coastal area from the French border to Barcelona to Tarragona.

Summary of campaign
Captain-General Copons commands all Spanish troops in eastern Spain. He orders the occupation of Lerida to draw French troops into the mountains west of the coast. Whilst they are so engaged, he moves to take Tarragona.

The French garrison deploy at Rues to protect the city and their lines of supply to Barcelona. The French hold Rues, but are unable to defeat the two Spanish armies and retire into Tarragona.

Having entered Lerida to the west, the French become aware of the threat to Tarragona and immediately march through the mountains to raise the siege. The Spanish attempt to stop them at Prades but are defeated and the siege of Tarragona raised.

By now all three French corps are concentrated near Tarragona, and Suchet is determined to destroy the Spanish. His first attempt is at Cambrils, where he attempts to stop them from retreating south to the safety of the river Ebro. He fails, but he cuts off half of the Spanish army.

He allows the Spanish to unite in order to defeat the entire army and this results in the second battle of Cambrils. The French win an inconclusive victory, but the Spanish are allowed to retire behind the river Ebro.

By now there is considerable disruption to the French lines of communication back to France, and Suchet has to take one corps back to Barcelona to reopen them.

The Spanish are quick to take advantage, and again move west of the river Ebro

At the end of the campaign the French still hold Barcelona, Lerida and Tarragona.

The Spanish have isolated all three centres and disrupt all communications between them.

Captain-General Cupons has achieved his campaign objective of preventing Marshal Suchet from sending any support to Marshal Soult at Burgos. And at the end of the campaign the Spanish occupy more ground than at the start.